Made it to Lapland at last, in time for the shortest day. But thankfully or disappointingly, here in Salla it is both warmer and lighter than I had expected. I had somehow thought there would be no sun to rise anywhere within the arctic circle at the Solstice. However, by about 10am it is starting to get light — although if you don’t get a move on, you quickly miss the best part of the day as by around 2pm it’s pretty dark again. Right now, just after three, it is as dark as tumma siirappi and the local library provides some welcoming brightness as well as warmth.
Been getting back into the swing of cross-country skiing, sometimes going for as much as minutes without falling down, watching as Finnish under-fives shoot past me as I edge incrementally along the ski trails. And today, skiing along the side of a frozen lake in a forest of snow-draped spruces, I stopped to take in the silence and the beauty and begun to realise why a Stone Age people might have decided to settle and then stay in this wild and frozen land.